It looks like Jon Favreau’s upcoming “The Lion King” adaptation just became an event all by itself. Disney announced Wednesday that Beyonce Knowles-Carter would be joining an already-stacked voice cast, playing Nala in the latest CGI adaptation of a beloved Disney film.
Though details remain light on how much the new film will mirror its 2-D animated predecessor, the 1994 film featured Nala as the childhood best friend and eventual love interest of the would-be king Simba. Set for a 2019 release, Beyonce joins Donald Glover as Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, and James Earl Jones, reprising his role as Mufasa from the original.
— Disney (@Disney) November 1, 2017
The voice of Nala wasn’t the only major addition to the cast — Eric André and Keegan-Michael Key are also “Lion King” newcomers. Although the two comedians would be prime candidates to play Banzai and Ed, two-thirds of the hyena trio from the original film, André and Key are set to play unspecified characters Azizi and Kamari, respectively. Florence Kasumba will be playing Shenzi, originally voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.
Favreau will be directing from a script by “Catch Me If You Can” writer Jeff Nathanson. Favreau’s previous live-action adaptation “The Jungle Book” was a box-office hit, grossing $364 million in the U.S. and just shy of $1 billion worldwide. It also picked up a Best Visual Effects Oscar back in February.
“The Lion King” is currently slated to be released July 19, 2019.